Biographia Literaria, Or, Biographical Sketches of My Literary Life and Opinions, Part 1
Biographia Literaria has emerged over the last century as a supreme work of literary criticism and one of the classics of English literature. Into this volume poured 20 years of speculation about the criticism and uses of poetry and about the psychology of art. Following the text of the 1817 edition, the editors offer the first completely annotated edition of the highly allusive work.
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The culmination of this "philosophical" section was to be the discussion of "the
imagination, or esemplastic power", but there was no time left. Morgan had told
Gutch in August that the work would be ready almost immediately. Coleridge was
It would intensify, in degree, the most pivotal and synthetic principle of philosophy
, the "philosophic imagination". As Coleridge approaches the thirteenth chapter
he promises that his results in the philosophical chapters so far, substantiated by
Well before it produced Coleridge himself (1772), it had already created the "
romantic" interests in imagination, genius, "passion", "natural language",
suggestiveness, originality, and sincerity that were to dominate British (and much
Coleridge's aphoristic definition of the imagination is thus: "the Laboratory, in
which Thought elaborates Essence into Existence".2 Near the beginning of the
Philosophical Lectures, Coleridge wrote : One cannot help thinking, ...
That activity itself, that imagination, was the main reason for the bright view —
man possessed a productive and creative ... All things were seen in God, " 'in
whom we live, and move, and have our being' ".1 As imaginative acts of the mind